The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — The Second Amendment debate about the right to bear arms seems to take on a whole new meaning when the one holding the gun has a black face and hands.
Let’s analyze it.
After the tragic and horrible events in Dallas, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Mobile, Orlando and elsewhere lately, it seems pretty obvious this is not exactly what the National Rifle Association and former rocker turned redneck, racist commentator Ted Nugent have in mind when they vehemently defend the right to bear arms for their hunting pals who see themselves as a bulwark against federal tyranny.
When their buddies Ammon Bundy and his band of cowardly cowboy insurrectionists took over the Oregon Wildlife Refuge awhile back, they were seen as heroes for the cause of gun rights, private property rights — and standing up to a federal government led by, let’s go ahead and say it, a black man.
The NRA has not said much about those innocent black lives destroyed by guns in the hands of white cops. But when a black soldier took up arms against what he must have seen as a corrupt and tyrannical police force, even in Dallas where people have praised the force and the chief there, including Black Lives Matter, the NRA quickly issued this statement. We report. You decide.
“On behalf of the more than five million members of the National Rifle Association, and especially on behalf of our members from the law enforcement community, I want to express the deep anguish all of us feel for the heroic Dallas law enforcement officers who were killed and wounded, as well as those who bravely ran toward danger to defend the people and city of Dallas. With heavy hearts, NRA members honor their heroism and offer our deepest condolences to all of their families.”
Where are their condolences to the black families who lost their sons and daughters?
In Alabama, the embattled Republican Governor Robert Bentley did not lower the flag over the historic capitol for the young people killed in the streets by the cops, or the gay people killed in the club in Orlando. But as soon as he heard there was a black man shooting cops in Dallas, he ordered the flag down to half staff.
In the past, the NRA organization, which seems to wield much power over Republican politicians in Washington and the states because of the amount of money they donate to candidates and their ability to smear anyone who disagrees with them, has claimed if people only had the ability to possess guns, we would all be safe.
But everybody in Texas has the right to carry a gun. Much of the Dallas police force was there at the peaceful protest, heavily armed, and they could not stop a lone black American soldier with a gun from killing some of their own.
The NRA, and their favorite presidential candidate Donald Trump, like to say things like “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.” But what happened in Dallas shows us that a bunch of supposedly good guys with lots of guns could not stop this bad guy. It took a robot with a bomb.
In hindsight, would they have taken away Micah Johnson’s right to own and carry a gun?
What he did was sort of a form of armed insurrection against a corrupt and tyrannical government, if you think about it, although I’m sure Ted Nugent would disagree, maybe because of the color of Johnson’s skin? Sure, his target was not the feds, a wildlife refuge, but local police agencies who routinely kill innocent black people – and get away with it.
Maybe Johnson was educated about the right to bear arms and what a tyrannical government looks like by listening to the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Nugent on Fox News. Maybe he thought police shootings in St. Louis, Baltimore, St. Paul and Baton Rouge — and yes, Mobile, Alabama — looked like the actions of a “cruel and oppressive government,” with “absolute power” approaching “totalitarianism,” even “Fascism.”
Maybe he saw stories online about white police officers all over America who are walking away scot free after shooting and killing innocent black people and making millions of dollars in online fund raisers from those who support a race war to keep putting blacks down like slaves. Maybe he saw these cases as a nation operating under a “cruel and oppressive government,” using power and control in a way that seems “unreasonable or arbitrary.”
But no, they say, President Obama is the problem, for going after their guns. One of the problems may be that he did not go after their guns.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has inspired the rise of the modern day KKK. When he says “Let’s make America great again,” some see what he is really saying is “let’s make America white again.”
The Ku Klux Klan was all but dead in the U.S. until people elected the first African American as president in history, and then Donald Trump came along, giving them cause to rise up again.
David Duke is back on the radio calling for the rise of a new Hitler in Germany and the U.S., and his following is putting out their hate filled leaflets in cities across the country, including Mobile, Alabama.
“The truth is … they might be rehabilitating that fellow with the mustache back there in Germany, because I saw a commercial against Donald Trump … comparing what Donald Trump said about preserving America and making America great again to Hitler, preserving Germany and making Germany great again, and free again, and not beholden to these Communists on one side, politically, who were trying to destroy their land and their freedom, and the Jewish capitalists on the other, who were ripping off the nation through the banking system,” Duke said on his radio show recently after endorsing Trump for president.
Trump has had little to say about poor black people being shot down by white police officers who usually go free and face no state sanction for their brutal behavior. Yet after Dallas, he said: “A brutal attack on our police force is an attack on our country, and an attack on our families. We must stand in solidarity with law enforcement, which we must remember is the force between civilization and total chaos. Every American has the right to live in safety and peace.”
Now let’s get back to the Second Amendment and wrap this up.
You can study the language and meaning all you want. It has been debated for years, even by the U.S. Supreme Court many times. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” is how it came out in the final Bill of Rights.
Early English settlers in America viewed the right to bear arms as important for one or more of these purposes: enabling the people to organize a militia system; participating in law enforcement; deterring tyrannical government; repelling invasion; suppressing insurrection, (allegedly including slave revolts); and, facilitating a natural right of self-defense.
We have a well regulated militia system. We have an army, a navy, the air force and police in every town in the country, and they are quite well armed. They were not able to stop a direct attack on the country on September 11, 2001, and many other so-called terrorist attacks from Boston to San Bernardino.
If Ted Nugent wants to take his gun and try to get in the White House to kill President Obama, I would love to see him try. He might get over the fence, but that would be the end of him. But he won’t, because he really does not have the courage of his convictions. He is just a loud mouth with a broadcasting platform, allowed him by a corporate media system that is complicit in every act of violence. They make money from this too. It’s called “eyeballs.”
If you want to see a people with a just cause for taking up arms and “deterring a tyrannical government,” understand this. More black people were killed by U.S. police in 2015 than were lynched in the worst year of Jim Crow laws in the American South.
And that’s not counting the number of innocent black men especially who are dying all the time on death row.
According to Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, the U.S. incarcerates more of its citizens than any other nation in the world.
“The increase in the jail and prison population from 300,000 to 2.3 million in the past 40 years has led to unprecedented prison overcrowding and put tremendous strain on state budgets,” Stevenson says.
In the wake of the shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, he issued a statement saying “a national effort is needed to confront America’s history of racial injustice. Without a commitment to confronting implicit bias in the criminal justice system as well as the overt bias that endangers black and brown people during many police encounters, these tragic events will continue.”
I have no doubt they will continue, and not without good cause. Unless these officers are punished to the full extent of the law and not allowed back on the streets with their guns, and banned from profiting from their crimes, there is no doubt we are in for more of this madness and mayhem in the days ahead.
This punishment should extend to include officers such as Harold Hurst in Mobile, along with the Police Chief James Barber who is covering up for his alleged crime and authorized his return to police duty before the Justice Department’s FBI investigation has been completed.
We understand from inside sources that the NAACP in Mobile is not even planning to push this case, maybe because poor Mike Moore was not a total paragon of virtue worthy of creating a national fund raising cause to support him. There was no video in this case either, which is the main reason it has not gone viral. Why was there no video? Because the officer stopped and shot and killed Moore before he technically went on duty and picked up his body cam. Did anyone in the car with Moore not have a phone and think to turn it on? Apparently not. The FBI is offering a reward for a video in that case.
I understand a number of chiefs of police around the country, including Gregory P. Suhr of San Francisco, have been forced from office for their mishandling of events like these.
But not in Mobile, where Mayor Sandy Stimpson seems blithely oblivious — and the local press and broadcast media simply allow it to happen, without so much as asking one impertinent question. When we tried to insert questions into the Mobile Press-Register‘s Facebook live video of the mayor’s brief statement on Dallas, our comments were deleted multiple times. Is that the kind of free press you want to support and share here?
We have a few questions. And we are not going to stop asking them until we get some answers: A Killing by Police Leaves Mobile on the Brink.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.